Here’s a Windows 8 feature that’s sure to spark lots of conversations around the dinner table.

Gearing up for the “Release Preview” of the new operating system next month, Microsoft this week detailed its plans for Windows 8’s family safety settings. One of the features lets parents receive a weekly email report that summarizes a child’s activities on the computer.

It’s part of a free cloud-based Family Safety service, letting parents click a link in the email to change settings and restrictions based on what they see.

The feature works in conjunction with the Microsoft account logins (formerly Windows Live ID) that will be used for signing in to Windows 8. Parents will be able to create separate logins for each child and then turn on the Family Safety settings to enable the feature.

Microsoft says it’s part of a new “monitor first” approach for parents.

“We expect you’ll find activity reports a great tool for teaching your kids about responsible computer use,” writes Phil Sohn of Microsoft’s Family Safety team in a blog post outlining the new features. “With the simplicity of activity reports, we believe more parents will adopt Family Safety, resulting in a safer computing environment for children.”

Other new Family Safety features in Windows 8 include more fine-tuned controls for setting time limits on computer use, and the ability to prevent kids from seeing games above their age rating in the new Windows Store app market.

The new features will be included in the Windows 8 Release Preview, slated to be issued in early June. Microsoft hasn’t yet given a final release date for Windows 8, but the new operating system is widely expected by the end of the year.

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  • Reina

    As a mother of four – I LOVE THIS!

    • eapnow

       Then you’d love what IronGate Security Networks is doing… unlike Windows 8, their solution, iHomeDefender, works at the gateway, so it works on ALL wired/wireless devices in the home, not just PCs.  So, when your kids are using a tablet or iPod touch, the same types of parental controls AND security are applied. 

  • Christopher Budd

    To give credit, Microsoft’s got probably the best Family Safety group in the industry. It’s a hard job on many levels, particularly around getting the development groups to take the idea seriously. But, as Reina’s comment shows, family controls are very much appreciated by some customers.

  • Marcus

    Isn’t this feature already available now? I’m already using this in Windows 7.

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